A new Irish Studies Centre in Shanghai University in conjunction with University College Cork is under development, the Minister for Education and Skills has announced.
Minister Joe McHugh TD stressed the significance of the centre in his announcement on March 20th during his visit to China. “It demonstrates the great interest in and awareness of Irish culture and heritage in China, and the growing demand for Chinese students to experience world-class teaching in this area,” he said.
The new centre will offer Irish Studies pathways for a diploma for students already attending the university. Visiting UCC academics will also be able to attend lectures on Irish Culture in the new centre.
It is being developed by the UCC’s Confucius Institute and their International Office.
Shanghai University chose UCC out of 16 other possible third level institutes to partner with worldwide, because of its highly rated excellence in food science, business and the arts.
UCC was also one of the Irish third level institutions present at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Ireland and China last December. The memorandum will see the two sides working together over the next three years to improve higher education in the two countries, especially in the field of cross-border education.
The centre also further deepens the already present connections between the two institutes. Since 2005, UCC has been growing its relationship with Shanghai University. The relationship was helped along by the twinning of the two cities in that same year. Student exchanges between the universities are currently underway and have been since 2011, with six students from Shanghai University attending UCC every year.
Shanghai University is one of the leading research universities in all of China. It already plays a part in the international academic field with its Sino-European School of Technology, first set up in 2006.
The Minister also said how the development of the centre greatly aides the Government’s Global Ireland Framework, an initiative first brought about by the Taoiseach in June 2018. The aim of the Framework is to double Ireland’s global footprint by 2015.
“Institutes like this are a crucial part of this concept,” said Minister McHugh, “building cultural understanding and friendship among peoples and among nations.”
The Minister has been visiting China since March 16 as part of the government’s St. Patrick’s Day programme of visits. His tour will last for several days and will include visits to educational Institutes around South China and Hong Kong that have links to Ireland.